PDT Sports Contributor
Wheelersburg- The Valley Indians went into Wheelersburg and pulled out a huge 56-38 win over the Pirates Friday night. The win was a culmination of 32 minutes of high energy and team play on the part of the Indians. They ran up and down the court and managed to neutralize the size advantage of the Pirates with gang rebounding and physical play.
The first quarter was electric. The stands were filled almost to capacity and the gym was rocking with the sounds of both team’s crowds. After Aaron Linne managed to break the seal of the rim Valley went up four to nothing. Wheelersburg would take a timeout and come back onto the floor instituting the press, attempting to force Valley into mistakes. Brian Rolfe made a couple, he would commit two early charges and find a seat on the bench. Austin Lotspeich also managed to block a couple of early shots, igniting the crowd for the Pirates.
Blake Howard picked up the slack for the Indians though, scoring seven first quarter points and leading them to a 12-5 advantage going into the second quarter.
Wheelersburg seemed deflated a bit after scoring only five first quarter points. Kyle Davis and the Pirates got into a better offensive rhythm in the second. He would score all nine of his points in the first half. Valley managed to keep them in check though, matching them point for point and going into the half by a score of 25-18.
The Indians broke open the game in the third quarter. They opened up on an 8-0 run and would outscore the Pirates 22-10 in the quarter. Valley instituted a 2-3 zone that would stifle Wheelersburg’s half-court offense. Bryan Rolfe had a big quarter, scoring six straight points and netting a couple steals. He would go on to lead the game with 13 points. At the end of three the score was 47-28.
Valley cruised to the finish line in the fourth quarter. Wheelersburg had trouble keeping up with their energy and failed find cracks in the zone defense.
“We got beat,” admitted Pirate Head Coach Steve Ater. “We turned it over way too many times. We had effort plays we didn’t finish. We gave up offensive boards and loose balls. We just didn’t finish on either end. Our effort was good early but it didn’t sustain for the entire game.”
“We managed to get it to seven points at the half. You’re thinking ‘ok, we can get it going again in the second’. But they went on a run and we didn’t answer back. It snowballed from there. The zone slowed us down and kept us from getting into a rhythm. I think some of our inexperience showed with the turnovers and we were about fifty percent from the free throw line. That’s a recipe for disaster when you give up easy points, can’t shoot at the line and turn the ball over.”
“Going forward, we have to learn to sustain our energy for 32 minutes. We had guys play tremendously hard tonight; Newsome was phenominal off the bench, Bivens and Davis really battled for us, too. But we need five guys who will do that, and a whole locker room for that matter. There’s no excuses, it’s something we’ve been behind on and we have to go fix it.”
The Pirates travel to South Webster to face the Jeeps next Friday. Tipoff is at 7:30.
Valley Head Coach Scott Rolfe was pleased with his teams’ effort.
“When you have a senior laden team like us, when they know it will be the last go around you have to start being dedicated early in the season,” explained Rolfe. “They are going to play hard all year, and it’s a great pleasure to have as a coach.”
“We mixed it up between man and zone on them. There’s a certain group of kids for us that when they get on the floor they can test shots and defend the post with their length. It’s been effective for us so far. We’ve played a bit in every game so far this season. It creates turnovers and lets us get some fast breaks started. To top it off we were finishing really well tonight.”
“Anytime we have a conference game it’s going to be really tough. This environment is a tough place to play. You don’t see that margin very often in this gym. Our guys accepted the challenge and came out and performed.”
Valley travels to West Portsmouth to play the Senators Next Friday. The game starts at 7:30.
Reach Derrick Parker at [email protected] or on twitter @DC_Parker
Valley 12 13 22 9 — 56
Wheelersburg 5 13 10 10 — 38
Valley: Rolfe 13, Howard 11, Linne 9, Brewer 9, Romenello 7, Wolford 4.
Wheelersburg: Davis 9, Holden 7, Lotspeich 7, Coleman 6, Newsome 5, Lewis 4.